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Other useful skills

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by CynicWhisper, Jun 25, 2008.

  1. CynicWhisper

    CynicWhisper Member

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    Hello. So I've just graduated high school and I'm going to be the one and only freshman tech major at Southern Methodist University in the fall (eep!). Essentially, I'm trying to figure out which minors and classes to take outside of theatre. I have a lot of free time due to ap classes, so I have a lot of options.

    I'm seeking to have some skills that I can use for a full-time career one day if I decide that I want to live in a small town or want to take a break from theatre. But I'd also like to be able to apply them to my theatre work. Currently I'm considering advertising, and either electrical or mechanical engineering. But I'm open to just about anything.

    Any advice on my engineering aspirations or any other ideas for minors or even possibly double majors that you think would be useful?
  2. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Project Manager, Stagecraft Industries, Inc.
    Portland, Or.
    Drafting, math, math, Engineering, math, Those are great cross-over skills. Heck, can't get a gig right outta college? I've seen 6 ads this week for a beginning level AutoCAD draftsman, and they don't even want someone with an engineering degree just people skilled in ACAD, that's only three semesters of 2 credit hour classes. Taking a few Business classes can't hurt either you never know when you're going to want to start your own company.
  3. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Saratoga Springs, NY
    Computer Networking is also very useful, if there is a MIS dept, take some cisco classes. Also, wouldnt hurt to pick up a programming language, I wish I had.
  4. porkchop

    porkchop Well-Known Member

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    Footer has a point, anyone that knows computer networking is a huge asset to any company. If you're a bit of a computer geek go for it. But I will point out there's a reason people make their living doing it, it isn't easy,

    Also Footer recommended a programming language. I would highly discourage you from learning the ins and outs of ANY language in particular (I could write a 20 page paper on why so I'll make it short). What I would say is if you want to be a diversified programmer on a lighting console take an intro to CS class and concentrate on the why not the how of whatever language they teach it in. The reality in computer science, and in programming on a console, is that memorizing the specific syntax is trivial compared to knowing the proper way to go about solving the problem at hand.

    To touch briefly at the original question I would take a class in electrical engineering and make very good cheat sheets for tests. Last year I started the year as a 10 hours a month over hire employee and ended the year at pretty close to full time. This probably had a good bit to do with work ethic but 3 years in EE didn't hurt me one bit. When I'm on site (especially when creating practical lighting fixtures) it really helps me to have a good understanding of basic electricity.

    If you take an EE class or two and like it I'd take a class in digital circuits, but I say that only because that will help you to understand the nuances of DMX signal and all the off shoots that control things like pyro as well as the hopefully soon ratified ACN system. It's not anywhere near as helpful now as it is random knowledge but who knows where the digital revolution will take us
  5. Spikesgirl

    Spikesgirl Active Member

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    You might also want to think about taking some business admin courses, very basic, but also very helpful.
  6. bdkdesigns

    bdkdesigns Active Member Fight Leukemia

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    Orlando, FL
    On top of what everyone else has said (I've taken some EE classes as well as a business class...both of which have proved beneficial so far), I've started taking digital media courses this year in grad school.

    A program like photoshop is a great tool to know how to use. I was self taught before the classes and I did know a lot about it already. However, the little tricks that I learned in one semester was insane. Not to mention, my Aunt makes her living as a graphical artist...all in photoshop. I've even picked up a few small jobs this summer using it. Next semester I dive into Adobe After Effects :cool:
  7. jwl868

    jwl868 Active Member

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    Pittsburgh, PA
    regarding the last part of the original post. [Interesting that both advertising and engineering are equivalent alternatives. But no need to explain.]

    Regarding the engineering alternative. I would agree that taking electrical engineering courses as a supplement to your theatre technical courses would be a good idea, particularly if your interest lies in light and sound.

    But (and perhaps I have misinterpreted the last part of your post), you may not have another alternative for engineering education other than as a second major (Ouch – double major of EE and anything else). That is, I don’t think there is a meaningful “minor” in engineering that will be of professional use in the future, if you do not stay in theatre. While one could be an electrical designer without an EE degree, one generally cannot become a state certified professional engineer without a BS in some engineering field (or science) to start with. (But the basic requirements vary from state to state.) A “minor” in engineering may serve as a basis to complete a degree at a later date.

    It really won’t matter in your freshman year – your electrical engineering courses will be limited to “Circuits 101 and 102” (or whatever they call it there).

    (Unless I am mistaken, most colleges require a “well-rounded” technical education for an engineering degree, regardless of the discipline. That would probably include 2 to 4 semesters of basic physics, 2 semesters of chemistry, 1 to 2 semesters of computer science/programming, and 2 to 4 semesters of mathematics/calculus.)

    Another consideration for engineering classes are prerequisite requirements. Just about any student can take a 100 and even 200 level class. But higher level classes usually require completion of one or more lower level classes. Get the college catalogue and look at any classes that you are even remotely interested in taking and see what is required to take those.

  8. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    Central Wisconsin
    Videography or Photography are also good skills to have... Videography for theatre and Photography for theatre or even for personal skills, you could do weddings or senior pictures if you are out of a theatre gig for a while.

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